Discovering Your Learning Style

by / Tuesday, 25 January 2011 / Published in PMI

Knowing your learning style can help you succeed as you continue to educate yourself.

Image by Elizabeth Albert

Educational experts say that everyone learns differently, and knowing your learning style can improve the way you take in information. Some people are visual learners – they like to see things demonstrated and appreciate graphical interpretations of data. Others are auditory learners – they use their senses of hearing and speech to listen to instructions and express their understanding. A smaller percentage of people are tactile learners; that is, they rely on their sense of touch to learn new concepts.

Knowing your learning style can help you succeed in education by presenting information to yourself in a way that makes sense. Different learning strategies can also help you learn quickly. There are tests that can help you discover your learning style, but this guide might give you an idea of your strengths.

Visual Learning: If you find that you easily understand information that is presented visually, you’re not alone. A majority of people are visual learners, so many textbooks and websites present information graphically to help people understand it quickly. But if you have to find information from less graphical sources, you can still play to your strengths. Take notes on what you learn using pictures or symbols and connect ideas with arrows. If you’re learning a task, have someone demonstrate it for you. “Translating” information into visual cues can help you understand it better.

Auditory Learning: Auditory learners can usually memorize things quickly after hearing them, sound out words and hold long, detailed conversations. If you learn well through listening and speaking, use those skills whenever possible. If a presenter prefers using demonstrations to teach, pay attention to how he explains them. Put his explanations in your own words and take notes on what you learn. When you review your notes, the information will make more sense if you present it to yourself in a way you understand.

Tactile Learning: Tactile learners understand concepts quickly when they can put them into action. They usually catch on quickly to new physical skills, are more creative, get fidgety when sitting still for too long and might mimic a presenter during a physical demonstration. If you are a tactile learner and can’t experiment with a new concept in a learning environment, make plans to do so later. Use your spare time to practice what you saw the presenter do or apply a concept to physical objects. Doing so will help you retain information more easily.

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